A landscape view of Sao Paulo, Brazil

Natural Infrastructure in São Paulo’s Water System

Natural infrastructure solutions are cost-effective ways to bring a suite of benefits to water systems, allowing them to perform better and be more resilient. However, there is often a lack of tools and data necessary to identify and assess natural infrastructure strategies, including how they can be paired with traditional water infrastructure.

This report evaluates how restoring forests as a natural infrastructure strategy can safeguard the Cantareira Water Supply System, the primary water source for São Paulo, Brazil. The report demonstrates significant value in this approach: Restoring 4,000 hectares of native forest would require an investment of about US$37 million and generate avoided costs of US$106 million, yielding a net benefit of US$69 million over 30 years. It also makes recommendations for how to design programs to facilitate local investments.

Authored by:

Suzanne Ozment, Rafael Feltran-Barbieri, Perrine Hamel, Erin Gray, Juliana Baladelli Ribiero, Samuel Roiphe Barrêto, Aurélio Padovezi, and Thiago Piazzetta Valente